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Apocalyptic smoke cloud blankets Russia-occupied Ukraine as mystery fire breaks out

Ukraine: Large fire reported in Russian-occupied Luhansk region

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Video footage shows a large area of land alight with smoke filling the sky in an area reportedly in the Luhansk region of east Ukraine. The area is one of two breakaway republic’s backed by Moscow.

Clips of the blaze have been shared on social media, including by Kyiv Post correspondent Jason Jay Smart.

He tweeted footage of the fire on Sunday (August 14) with the message: “Fires have broken out near Ternovoe in the Russian-occupied Luhansk, Ukraine.”

It has not been possible to independently verify the footage, the location of the fire or the date it was filmed.

However, it was shared by numerous accounts reporting on the war. These also report Ternovoe as the location.

Luhansk and second breakaway republic Donetsk have seen some of the fiercest fighting in the war between Russia and Ukraine, which is now in its sixth month.

Earlier this month, explosions were reported overnight at an oil depot in Makiivka, Donetsk, where Russian forces had set up camp.

Twitter account Ukraine News Live said at the time: “The Armed Forces of Ukraine staged a fierce fire show for the Russians in occupied Makiivka, Donetsk region.

“HIMARS worked on enemy positions. The local oil depot is on fire.”

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A massive explosion also rocked the Russian-occupied city of Skadovsk, in the Kherson region on the Black Sea.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian forces foiled Russian reconnaissance attempts and destroyed equipment in southern Ukraine.

Operational Command South reported three reconnaissance efforts by Russian forces in Bilohirka and Trudoliubivka were unsuccessful.

Ukrainian forces today (August 15) reported heavy Russian shelling and attempts to advance on several towns in Donetsk, which has become a key focus of the near six-month war.

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Ukraine’s military command said on Sunday Russian soldiers had continued unsuccessfully to attack Ukrainian positions near Avdiivka, which since 2014 has become one of the outposts of Ukrainian forces near Donetsk.

Ukrainian military expert Oleg Zhdanov said the situation was particularly difficult in Avdiivka and nearby towns such as Pisky.

He said in a video posted online: “We have insufficient artillery power in place and our forces are asking for more support to defend Pisky, but the town is basically under Ukrainian control.”

Meanwhile, in its latest intelligence update, Britain’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) said the Kremlin will likely see its military’s failure to occupy the whole of the Donetsk region as a setback for its overall aims in Ukraine.

Defence Intelligence’s briefing added it is likely Moscow is in the advanced planning stages to hold a referendum over Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) joining Russia.

It continued: “[I]t is unclear if the final decision to go ahead with a vote has yet been taken.”

Russian media reported on August 11 that DPR head Denis Pushilin had said the date of such a referendum would be announced after the region’s “complete liberation”, according to the MoD.

Investigative journalists published evidence in June of a DPR planning strategy to run such a vote and ensure 70 percent of votes were in favour of becoming part of Russia.

North Korean state media on Monday said Russian President Vladimir Putin told Kim Jong Un the two countries would expand “comprehensive and constructive” ties.

It came after Pyongyang recognised Donetsk and Luhansk as independent states in July with officials raising the prospect at the time of workers being sent there to help in construction.

Ukraine immediately severed ties with North Korea over the move.

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